Terra Nostra was premiered in June 2015 by the Lake Union Civic Orchestra (LUCO), a community symphonic ensemble based in Seattle, under the musical direction of Christophe Chagnard. The performance took place at Meany Hall at the University of Washington and was very well received, eliciting emotional and passionate responses from a large and highly diversified audience. To intensify the audience experience, 130 provocative photographs and short videos were precisely synchronized with the piece and projected on a large screen above the orchestra. Chagnard had also commissioned a 17-year-old student from Boston, Emily Siff, to write a poem on climate change. During the performance, she read her creation with great flair and conviction. The combination of dramatic symphonic music, compelling images, and powerful words on the causality of global warming and fate of our planet created a deeply involving and connecting media experience that transcended boundaries.
Terra Nostra is highly programmatic, filled with themes and quotes that depict precise images and phenomena. The architecture of Terra Nostra is based on a timeline spanning from the Big Bang through present time, and on to an unknown and alarming future. Following the formation of the earth, the evolution of the human species is depicted through a series of well-known musical quotes. The Industrial Revolution heralds a new era, which brings about a dramatic change in the aesthetics and mood of the music. Drought and its many consequences are followed by population explosion, melting of Arctic sea ice, rising CO2 concentrations, and air pollution. Terra Nostra concludes with a palindrome, ending as it began.